Mozambique: INGC Situation Report 20 Mar 2000

Instituto Nacional de Gestao das Calamidades

1. Evolution of the Floods

The water levels in the Umbeluzi basin began to rise on Friday 17 March, reaching a peak on the Movene river on Saturday evening. As a result the Pequenos Libombos dam had to discharge water on Saturday and Sunday. Parts of the EN2 from Maputo to Boane became submerged, hampering the movement of traffic. However, the river levels were reported to be falling again by Monday morning (20/03/00).

Increasing flows were recorded in the Incomati river from 16 March and the level is expected to go on rising because of rain inside Mozambique and in neighbouring Swaziland and South Africa. People living near the river have been warned of the risk of more flooding.

While the level of the Limpopo river is reported to be falling, officials have been unable to read the depth gauges at Combumune and Chokwe because of mud. However, rain in neighbouring countries upstream will cause a further increase in the flow of the river, and water discharge from the Massingir dam could increase. The population has been warned to remain in a state of alert and people already displaced are advised not to return home

In the Save basin, rainfall in Mozambique is not yet reflected in the level of the Save river, which fell slightly on Sunday. The main national highway (EN1) is still cut at Pambara in Vilankulo district and Temane, but traffic can now pass at Vulanjane. The population has been warned to stay in safe places in case the river level rises again.

In the centre of the country, the Buzi river in Sofala province has risen sharply because of greater discharge from the Chicamba dam. With continued outflows from Chicamba the flood risk increases on the Buzi, although a technical team from the National Directorate of Water and the Eduardo Mondlane University is currently monitoring the situation. Meanwhile, the Pungwe river is falling, although the local population has been advised to keep out of the valley bottom.

The level of the Zambesi river continues to fall downstream from the Cahora Bassa dam. Likewise the Licungo river in Zambezia province is falling, but people are still advised to avoid the valley bottom.

Rain over the weekend in the northernmost province of Cabo Delgado is believed to have resulted in further flooding in the lower Messalo river in Muidumbe district.

2. Current Weather Forecast

Light rain and localised showers are forecast throughout the country tomorrow. For the remainder of the week, the south is expected to have fair weather with little cloud, while the centre and north will be partly to very cloudy with the possibility of showers.

Light rain is also forecast for Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

3. Information update

A committee of ministers from Mozambique and South Africa met on Friday to co-ordinate response to the flooding in the two countries. It was confirmed that consignments of relief goods for Mozambique exist in Pretoria, Kimberley and Durban. A team from the INGC Technical Council has travelled to South Africa to inspect the goods and check on their relevance. The team will discuss its findings at a further meeting in Pretoria on Friday to co-ordinate regional relief efforts and balance support to the region.

An updated emergency appeal is being finalised and is due to be presented at 16.00 hours on Wednesday 22 March. A report is also being prepared for a donor conference scheduled to be held in Rome on 26 and 27 April. The conference will focus on three areas. These are the continued need for humanitarian assistance until October, the need for emergency rehabilitation of infrastructure, notably roads, bridges, power lines, clinics, schools and other public buildings, as well as the private sector, and better preparedness for natural disasters, including the prevention and management role of institutions such as the army, air force, navy, police, Red Cross and Scouts, among others.

4. Relief Action Under way

The Joint Air Operations reported the transport of 745.3 tonnes of goods, both food and non-food, and 1,075 passengers in 691.8 hours of flying time over the 17 to 19 March weekend. These flights include Maputo and Beira operations. The operation has also airlifted some of the 800 tonnes of relief goods waiting in South Africa for transport to Mozambique. It has been decided, however, that the remainder will be transported by road and rail to Mozambique.

The Joint Logistics Operations Centre has received a request to airlift 350 tonnes of seed from Harare to Maputo. Given the costs of air operations, users are requested to move goods as far as possible by less expensive means.

Users were also reminded to ensure they have correct co-ordinates for destinations in order to avoid mistakes in deliveries.

It has been suggested that the JLOC become the focal point for new information regarding needs which would then be co-ordinated with the executing agencies.

The assets available for the air operations now total 49, comprising 33 helicopters and 16 fixed wing aircraft, since four aircraft left at the weekend for technical reasons.

5. Reports from sector desks


A total of 798 tonnes of food were delivered over the 17 to 19 March weekend. Almost half of this was transported by truck from Beira and from Maputo. In addition, 190 tonnes of food is being loaded on to the British naval vessel for delivery to Save and Machanga. More than 3,600 tonnes of food have been delivered overall since the emergency operation began on 11 February 2000.

The main priorities in the food aid sector are to increase deliveries by road, since the current air capacity is stretched to the limit, and to buy maize meal locally to alleviate supply problems in the south. More maize meal is being bought in the region, while people who are not displaced are receiving maize grain.

Deliveries of food to Zumbo, in Tete province on the border near Zambia and Zimbabwe, are made by road from Beira via Zimbabwe, with government boats helping to cross the river at Zumbo.

WFP, in consultation with the government, is changing its strategy from the month of April and may require more funds.


The immediate priorities in the agriculture sector include the formation of technical teams to work in the districts of Gaza and Inhambane provinces and an aerial reconnaissance of Chibuto, Chokwe and Xai Xai, scheduled for today. Technical teams are already working in Maputo, Sofala and Manica provinces in support of the district agriculture committees.

The distribution of seeds and tools bought with Italian funds is to be co-ordinated at district level by the emergency committees so that seeds and food are delivered together. The seeds and tools are expected to be available this week.. The Lutheran World Federation plans to distribute 10 thousand seed and tool kits in Chokwe and has asked for air transport to bring the kits from Harare.

Work in hand in the agriculture sector includes an assessment of the impact of the floods on the private sector, planning for the distribution of donated seeds and tools and the verification of data on the crops areas lost and the number of households affected.


An emergency field hospital with staff in Buzi district, as well as more tents, is among the priorities in the health sector. In addition, the deputy minister of health is visiting the provinces of Manica and Sofala to assess the situation.

It was noted that some medicines among those donated were found to be out of date after delivery to Dombe in Manica province.

The health authorities are collaborating with the local authorities in Chokwe on the removal of the bodies of residents who lost their lives in the disaster.

The Ministry of Health has decided to give a weekly epidemiological profile of malaria and cholera, currently the two main concerns. Following the weekend rain in the Maputo area, the incidence of malaria in Maputo and Matola is likely to rise. Spraying is being carried out to kill mosquitoes and a reasonable stock of drugs for malaria exists. A special cholera ward is to be set up in Machava to reduce the pressure on the Mavalane hospital. Moreover, more nursing staff are needed.

Many organisations are working in the health sector without informing the ministry of health. The health authorities requested all organisations active in health to fill in the special form to help with planning and co-ordination.

UNICEF has reported that a vaccination campaign was started in Gaza province on 18 March. The first two locations in the campaign were Xai Xai and Caniçado. Vaccination materials have been distributed in Gaza province and plans are ready for mosquito spraying. The malaria programme received 10 tents for operations in Maputo and Gaza and another 30 tents have been sent to the Chiaquelane camp for MSF use.

The Ministry of Health work is being supported through hiring specialist staff to work in Gaza and in Maputo province and city.

Water and Sanitation

Three thousand family sanitation kits consisting of buckets, jerry cans and soap have been distributed in Gaza province and a generator for Xai Xai has been delivered. Furthermore, a contract has been signed for the replacement of pumps in Chokwe.

Assessment of the flood damage is continuing in Sofala, Manica, Maputo and Gaza and has begun in Inhambane province.

The water sector would also like to make an inventory of which organisations are working in the sector.

Constraints facing the water and sanitation sector include problems of transport in the rural areas for assessment work and lack of funds to support the functioning of provincial committees.

UNICEF has deployed hygiene field animators to work in the accommodation centres in Gaza province and collaborated with the local authorities in Chokwe on its plan to clean up the town. Oxfam and UNICEF are now working with the municipality to ensure that sanitation and hygiene conditions are suitable for present and returning populations. For this purpose, 350 kg of chlorine have been sent to Chokwe.

A team from UNICEF is currently evaluating the water and sanitation situation in Gaza province and the needs in the accommodation centres.

Shelter and Accommodation Centres and Non-food Items

The following materials were delivered during the weekend of 17 to 19 March.

Chokwe 18,750 blankets
30,000 items of clothing
Chibuto 40 bales of clothing
Sofala 20 tents
5,000 items of clothing
Save 21 tents (from Maputo)


Planned deliveries for 20 March were:

Sofala 50 bales of clothing
Chibuto 2,500 blankets

100 bales of clothing

In addition, the UNHCR will send 17,010 blankets and 4,000 rolls of plastic sheeting to Beira.

The working group on shelter has records for 121 accommodation centres and isolated settlements with 463,000 people.


The operations in customs were reported to be running smoothly. Should any problems arise, people were advised to contact the public relations department. In response to a comment about delays in the clearance of goods at Frigo, it was explained that these delays occurred when transporters were not in possession of correct information or the forms were incorrectly filled in.


The road from the Save river to Inchope is closed once more because of flooding at the Muor river. Work in the roads sector is concentrating on the main highway (EN1) north of the Save and the stretch of road between Chicumbane and Xai Xai. Re-opening the road between Save and Inchope is expected to take from 10 to 14 days, while the link to Xai Xai will take longer, though estimate of time was given.

6. Field reports

The Vicentina Mission (tel. 780188) reports that 7,000 people at Chirunzo near Macaretane are in need of assistance. Less than half the group has shelter and medicines are in short supply. The WFP delivered food there on 19.03.2000, although the quantity is not known.

Some 4,000 people at Chalocuane, about 60 km from Chokwe, last received food (three tonnes) from CARITAS on 20.03.2000 and urgently need more assistance.